Today we’re bidding farewell to Yogyakarta. The time we’ve spent here has been amazing.
We’ve come to feel at home in this once strange place. We’ve managed to do in four months what we couldn’t in 2 years in Korea – feel like we are part of a community. Knowing the language has helped with that.
The people of Yogya have been incredible. I’ve never known any group of people to be so proud of their home and at the same time so accepting of us foreigners.
I’ve also never come across so many photography enthusiasts. Many of my friends here found me through facebook because of my photos, and were incredibly eager to show me the lesser known places in the area.
Rio, our first friend, was the only student to respond to our requests for a conversation partner. As time passed by we became closer and his pride of being Javanese became clearer. He not only introduced us to his family, he also met me at 4:00am to show me some cool spots for sunrise. We are extremely grateful for his generousity and friendship, and the friendship of his friend, Witra.
Our newest friends, Cendi, Bhaguz & Feri who are all keen photographers, took Rachel and I to some beautiful places. Bhaguz has helped me fix my ipod and introduce me to some friends in Bali. We wish we met them sooner.
Last week we took a trip to an inactvie volcano near Gunung Kidul. I stood on top of the hill taking a picture of the beautiful red and pink sky of sunset. Cendi, Bhaguz & Feri began praying. The sound of their prayers in such an amazing place was magical. It was a beautiful side of Islam that we in the West rarely see.
In fact, knowing that many of our friends are Muslims and that they have accepted our friendship and made us feel so at home despite our differences shows us just how special this place is.
There are other people too who have made our time in Yogya very special. Lusia was always a great teacher, who would meet us for coffee and patiently correct our Indonesian. She introduced us to Borneo’s typical cuisine and we got a feel for some of the culture in Borneo. Unfortunately she left Yogya early so we didn’t have much time with her.
Nanunk, a local police officer and photographer drove for an hour to pick me up and take me to Plaosan temple. I was extremely grateful for that. And Adi Novi, the administrator for a popular facebook page in Yogyakarta, regularly shared my photos with his readers. I think most of my Indonesian friends were found through that page. Again, I’m very thankful to him.
There are even Indonesians who live miles away in Korea that have tried to make us feel comfortable, like Edward, Yvan & Christian.
Sometimes it’s actually overwhelming to think about how much people have done for us in this city. To be honest, we feel like we are leaving Yogyakarta far too soon.
We are sure that we will return to this exciting city one day. It will always have such special memories for us. For now it’s time to move on, to see more of this extraordinary country. I hope the rest of our 6 weeks in Indonesia will be as special as the past 4 months.
Matur Suwun Yogyakarta!
Here are my favourite photos of Yogya and the areas around it.